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A Global Pause

While the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on healthcare industry will play out over the next few quarters, the situation continues to look tough. India imports a variety of capital equipment, consumables, and disposables, including CT scanners, MRI machines, orthopedic implants, nebulizers, BP monitors, syringes, digital thermometers, gloves, and bandages from China.

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the MedTech supply chain is not yet completely known. As with the automotive and electronics industries, healthcare may experience interruptions in supplies that rely on raw materials and components made in China, or neighboring countries.

The MedTech industry has a reputation for being more resilient than other industries. Medical devices makers also rely on functioning supply chains – and those supply chains are experiencing a decent amount of disruption. The outbreak in the Asia-Pacific region is already delaying hardware and software installations and acceptance as health providers focus on managing the outbreak. Leading players may not feel the hit as much as smaller players in the MedTech industry, as the former usually have second sources of supplies of components and raw materials, and also import from Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Europe. However, it is difficult for the smaller manufacturers to shift from the Chinese companies to other suppliers for complete assembled products.

Industry response

Anil Jotwani
Sr. President – Sales and Marketing,
Transasia Bio-Medicals Ltd.

Impact it will have on your sector.In order to meet the high workload of mass screening, most hospitals, diagnostic centers, large private laboratories, and chain labs are facing slowdown in patient inflows for preventive health check-ups. In fact, most corporates too have curtailed the pre-employment and annual check-ups by 50–70 percent. Hospitals are attending mainly to emergency work. Routine and planned surgeries are postponed. As a result, there has been a drop in the number of laboratory tests being conducted, which means there is a less requirement of reagents.

Medical device manufacturing is getting affected with trade from China, South Korea, and several European countries taking a hit due to corona virus outbreak. China exports spare parts like specialized printed circuit boards (PCBs), crystal glass, and other consumables that are used for manufacturing clinical chemistry analyzers in India. After the initial hit on masks and sanitizers, medical industry is bracing for a dearth in diagnostic supplies, equipment, and routine instruments.

Impact it will have on your business and your planned strategy to address this. Transasia imports from Japan 50 of its 2000 spare parts required to manufacture diagnostic equipment. The trade with Japan has slowed down. The routine budget of the hospitals is now being diverted to fight the pandemic. So, there are no new tenders being issued or purchases being made for instruments and reagents.

As a part of our commitment to the health of the people of our country, we have already put all our expert resources to develop rapid tests for COVID-19. While MNCs are offering the test kits, Transasia is working on developing Made in India kits that will be much more cost-effective. Our plan is to develop rapid test kits that give accurate results in 20 minutes. This is the need of the hour for the preliminary screening of the masses.

As a part of our business continuity strategy, we have created task forces who meet regularly to develop policies and provide information to employees regarding COVID-19 awareness, prevention, management, and hygiene practices. The leadership teams are also focused on management protocols and business-continuity plans to guide current actions and forecast possible responses to future events. They continue to monitor business impact through monitoring supply chains or providers; conducting ongoing supply-chain risk assessment and operation-impact assessment; considering alternative suppliers; preparing for shortages, transportation delays, or communication delays; approving additional budget for supplies or additional paid time-off; and analyzing and forecasting potential market impacts.

Nitin Sawant
President – IVD India,
Trivitron Healthcare

The coronavirus disease COVID-19 has now been reported in more than 100 countries. As the outbreak has direct impact on many socio-economic aspects, it is resulting in havoc on various business sectors in India and around the world. Businesses are now experiencing unprecedented difficulties in operating smoothly, and this is resulting in revenue losses and disruption of supply chains. The healthcare sector is greatly affected, as entire focus has been shifted on COVID-19 with medical fraternity having no time or infrastructure left to deal with any other ailment.

As the disease has hit India, the prices of raw materials, key ingredients, APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients), and spare parts for health technologies have gone up. The cost of paracetamol has increased from `250–300 to `400–450 per kilogram. Similar trend is observed for various other respiratory drugs, antibiotics, multivitamins, various chemicals and reagents, and parts, machinery, and hardware used to manufacture some medical devices. Shutdown of various logistics providers, freight carriers, and transport service vehicles have further contributed to our woes.

Primarily, these factors, along with various others. have led to slump in production and factory outputs. However, we are utilizing all our resources to keep up with global demands that have also grown due to the resulting epidemic spread. We are doing everything possible to ensure that there are no supply disruptions.

To cope with logistics issues, we plan to airlift raw materials and required ingredients. We have issued an advisory to our clients to place their orders in advance and maintain a healthy safety stock so that we can have an exact estimate of global allocation. We are also in touch with vendors from the US who can meet our demands amidst closures in China.

Further to this, COVID-19 is putting a lot of demand on an overburdened healthcare system, overwhelming the capacity of hospitals, emergency departments, and outpatient centers. This has resulted in increased demand for healthcare products and medical-technology equipment, and to meet those demands, we are allocating resources appropriately so that we can serve everyone.

In summary, it is important for the healthcare industry to take additional steps in order to mitigate their risk of suffering negative impacts from coronavirus. Times like this call for joint effort from various business verticals. Also, beyond standard concerns related to business sustenance, organizations must look at their efficiencies and work in coordination with apex government body to tackle any healthcare crisis.

Anil K Srivastava
Director – Sales & Marketing – Medical Equipment,
Nihon Kohden India Private Limited

The global medical devices industry is heavily dependent on China for raw materials and electronic components. As the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases continues to rise, it is also likely to affect India’s heavily import-dependent medical product supply chain, and may result in the shortage of critical medical devices, and thus impact the Indian medical devices market, which accounts for more than 13 percent of the Asia-Pacific (APAC) medical devices market, and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5 percent through 2025.

Medical devices manufacturers across India are presently stressed to get important raw materials and electronic components from Chinese factories, which were shut for weeks to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Even as some of the factories have reopened, shortages of some critical electronic parts and raw material still persist. Over the last few months, the shortage has started impacting the margins and profitability of Indian companies importing medical devices and small components to manufacture finished products.

We may see a price rise of some of the medical devices in the short term, but the supply of products such as masks and sanitizers will be severely impacted as the demand has surged amid the outbreak. This is an opportunity for Indian companies manufacturing masks and sanitizers.

Manufacturers will look for other alternative sources to import raw material and electronic components. Indian government should take measures to reduce dependency on China as it may take longer for the country to come out of this threat. On the other hand, this could be an opportunity for India to become a hub of global medical devices manufacturing.

What next?

Beyond short-term remedial measures, only proactive organizations with next-generation supply chain management software can manage downtime to deliver on customer commitments. Supply chains that are powered by new technologies such as AI, big data, and machine learning have real-time visibility to strategize and take risk-mitigation measures. A supply chain platform that is built on a foundation of the aforementioned new technologies can trigger alerts based on internal and external data feeds. The alerts directly suggest various courses of actions to let supply chain professionals shift their sourcing to their preferred region.

Dean Zhang
Managing Director,
Mindray Medical India Pvt. Ltd.

Coronavirus has caused a lot of damage to humanity, and the world together is fighting against this deadly virus. The Chinese government has very bravely fought to contain the virus and has achieved phase-wise success, looking at the current scenario world over.

Mindray stood by the government and the people of China and made round-the-clock efforts to help contain the virus by calling back all staff on leaves, in spite of lockdown and holidays, and has successfully installed almost one lakh medical devices across China.

Mindray, being a medical equipment manufacturer, has had to increase output to meet the demand in such trying times. The impact is such that due to demand from all corners, the requirement from India has also increased. Mindray is trying to scale up its production so that it can cater to its international clients as well.

Within Asia, India is one of our biggest markets and the Indian government is doing everything possible to contain the spread. Mindray India is closely cooperating with its customers in providing timely instrument support to contain COVID-19 as Mindray is a trusted partner for healthier Bharat.

Mindray as a company with the mission to advance medical technologies to make healthcare more accessible, is leaving no stone unturned in meeting the requirements of the healthcare industry across the globe.

High domestic demand of Mindray equipment has affected the supply chain for our international clients in certain level. International exports have also been disrupted due to the worldwide spread of the virus. In such trying times, we stand by our clients and will do everything possible as a responsible healthcare partner. Having said that, we have pledged to meet the demands of our esteemed clients all over the globe by increasing output.

We are fortunate to have a great team to tackle this very responsibly. Mindray has successfully been in production even during the outbreak, and we adopted a working environment so safe that none of our employees contracted the virus in spite of being exposed to the virus-hit sites during installation of our medical equipment.

Mindray, being a healthcare partner of India, has taken very responsible steps by giving priority to make healthcare accessible in India at a very impressive rate, considering the overall international trade restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Praveen Nagpal
BPL Medical Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

Covid-19 is now a pandemic that has disrupted businesses across the world, and it has indicated that a trillion dollars of delay in business or cancellations has started happening. State administrations and health officials are desperately trying to slow the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. The most difficult aspect of this crisis is not only the short-term economic slowdown but also building supply chain infrastructure to come out of the long-term slowdown.

Healthcare business is no different and for raw materials or finished goods, we are dependent on countries like the USA, Germany, Italy, UK, China, South Korea, and Japan. All these countries have been hit hard at this moment while China has started showing signs of recovery. It is important as China contributes 11 percent of global exports.

Currently, in China, many factories and even ancillaries are either closed or working with partial workforce. In this circumstance, medical material is either not available or is available at four to five times the cost. The 4–6 weeks’ stocks of Indian companies are also drying up and companies are eagerly waiting for fresh supplies.

BPL Medical Technologies is working with its long-time partners to ensure it gets these materials as soon as they are made available in partial or full. This will help to keep the production moving and supporting the needs of our customers. At BPL Medical, we are pre-booking freight capacity across air and sea routes to ensure that once material is ready, we have fewer challenges in moving the material.

We have also started exploring alternate options of material availability and diversified supply chain on the best available basis to fast track availability of medical products. We are pleasantly surprised that with some good efforts of our supply chain team in shortlisting potential suppliers, some good options are available in other Southeast Asian countries.

Many other options are being confirmed within India also with the right-quality framework. All these options are not impacting any of our quality certifications. Our teams are working with these suppliers and giving them enough confidence to manufacture material. We are sure once the volume picks up, this is going to bring the costs down and help in the long run.

There is a group of team members who are actively involved with quick decision making to see what opportunity exists to mitigate the risks we have and immediately clearing the bottlenecks through supply chain efforts.

Over the last few years, we have also made many products in BPL Medical product portfolio that have reduced our dependence on other countries, especially China, and this has started helping us in these difficult times. It is key that we have a strong R&D focus apart from ensuring a strong supply chain across.

We are very watchful of these times and are doing every bit to see that our supplies are least interrupted in these difficult times.

Ashwin Kailasnath
Head – Marketing and Planning,
CPC Diagnostics

How does one even begin to tackle a problem that has now gripped the entire world? Being an established organization in the healthcare space, this topic gets even more sensitive.

On December 31 of last year, Chinese authorities alerted the World Health Organization of an outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus causing severe illness, which was subsequently named SARS-CoV-2. By early February, we understood through various interactions with our counterparts in China that work schedules would be delayed. Initially, this started out as a business concern for us as Quarter 4 is always a crucial period for us to realize our financial goals. For this, we had prepared ourselves by forecasting for supplies in March, way ahead of schedule, and informing our customers and teams on the availability of the products. We also kept keenly in touch with the import departments to ensure that all supplies are smoothly delivered and more importantly, we follow the protocol.

However, it was in March’20 that India truly realized the seriousness and the challenges that this imposes on our healthcare system. Initially, we started off by bringing awareness of the method of spread and the precautions to be taken to all employees, through official circulars and also through regular discussions. We have also ensured that any employee who is feeling sick is immediately asked to be sent home to recuperate. The provision of hand sanitizers and masks is another step undertaken after taking into stride the various supply issues faced by us. The management has taken a massive effort by directly speaking to all of the employees personally to ensure that the sensitization and preparedness are both in order. We avoided many meetings by converting them to video-conferencing calls, which helped us in taking quick decisions.

We have also made an aggressive pitch in getting test licenses and import licenses approved for the CE-certified CLIA kit on our immunoassay, which is a quick indicative test of corona. This is our responsible contribution to support the country’s health authorities. Toward this, we have been in active touch with NIA (National Institute of Virology), Pune, and ICMR (Indian Centre for Medical Research), Delhi, to fast track the process.

The fintal solution is to only keep calm and maintain a clean, healthy lifestyle and actively promote the well-accepted remedy of social distancing. Let us hope that this phase passes over as painlessly as possible.

Chander Shekhar Sibal,
Sr. Vice President,
Fujifilm India Pvt. Ltd.

“This virus has shaken the entire humanity and will certainly impact decision-making both, short term and long term. The foremost priority is to save humanity. In keeping with the immediate requirements of the government, our service teams, on top priority are installing CRs, DRs, and imagers in the isolation wards.

This disruption will change the way world functions. New solutions and new business models will evolve, and the conventional way of businesses will see a downturn. It will be a case of Digitize or Die. Tele-consultations, tele-radiology, teleservices for home healthcare, wellness, EHR and EMR will gain huge pace and become a necessity. I expect new services and an entirely new way of marketing, which cannot even be envisaged at the moment to emerge.

The healthcare sector will need to come up with solutions, which are disruptive, cost-effective and accessible to masses. We would need a new strategy for healthcare. A case in point is the manufacture of ventilators planned by Mahindra & Mahindra to be retailed at Rs 7500. Overall immunity, including mental strength would need to be enhanced. Meditation, yoga and many other older techniques are becoming relevant once again.

The virus may just be the trigger required for the Make in India initiative. Our prime minister has allocated Rs 15000 crores for additional healthcare measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The 12500 wellness centers may be set up earlier than planned.Our biotechnology departments are trying to develop test kits. It is encouraging that Pune-based Mylab has received commercial approval from CDSCO for its COVID-19 test kit.

Innovating Out of Crisis: How Fujifilm Survived (and Thrived) As Its Core Business Was Vanishing authored by our CEO Shigetaka Komori San is a must read at this juncture.”

John Lamont
Head of Research and Development,
Randox Laboratories Ltd.

The spread of coronavirus across the world is of concern for all countries and populations alike. With growing uncertainty surrounding the virus and how best to combat the spread, it is more important now than ever that we share the knowledge we have and tackle this global pandemic together. Science is leading the charge and at Randox we are at the cutting edge of technology and science. Because of our brilliant scientists and the hard work put in by all, Randox Laboratories have been able to develop a rapid test for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). This unique test is capable of identifying the lethal strain and differentiates between other non-lethal variants with the same symptoms. This test utilizes Randox Biochip technology, which can report 540 results in less than 5 hours on the Randox Evidence Investigator. Join Randox and help us to improve health worldwide.

Anant Shethji
Vector Biotek Pvt. Ltd.

The zoonotic COVID-19 coronavirus is relatively a new strain that has infected the human race for the first time. It belongs to the same coronavirus family, which had outbreaks earlier in forms of MERS – CoV and SARS CoV. Looking to the current episodes of it is outbreak, various authorities claim that it could infect 40 to 70 percent of the global population.

Bearing the serious effects on the public health around the globe, the pandemic COVID-19 outbreak will also have some effects on variety of trade activities. According to the data from Dun & Bradstreet, 51,000 firms, including 163 Fortune 1000 companies, have one or more direct suppliers from the impacted zone in China whereas five million companies have one or more suppliers nearby the epicenter of outbreak, which will surely have major impact on business.

Indian trade has substantial dependency at present on China across variety of sectors, including medical devices and IVD products.

Medical device import has grown by 24 percent in 2018-19 as compared with 2014-15, reaching Rs. 38,837 crore. Amongst these products, the IVD reagents alone, whose Import was Rs. 1882 crore in 2014-15, has escalated to 44 percent rise amounting to Rs. 3378 crore during 2018-19.

In addition to reagents, medical electronics, and equipment are also forming large chunk of import in India, which contributes 53 percent of total medical device import amounting to Rs. 20,836 crore in 2018-19. China contributes 10 percent of the import of these products at present.

While data indicates the possible adverse effect of current pandemic on IVD trade in India, but most of the companies engaged in IVD products’ manufacturing in China are situated at a relatively safe distance from the epicenter, and hence it can be postulated that this situation may not create a total panic to Indian IVD Trade.

As at Beacon Group we are having our core competency in manufacturing, so we do not envisage major impact on our business due to this outbreak; rather we will take this outbreak as an opportunity to further strengthen our manufacturing expertise for ongoing business growth, including exports to various international territories.

Surinderpal Singh Rangi
Clarity Medical Pvt. Ltd.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has been designated a pandemic by the WHO, and it has made a major impact on people’s lives and the communities they live in. Over 10 times as potent as SARS and with no vaccine available, coronavirus has already infected more than 220,000 people around the world and is spreading fast.

Impact on the industry. Industries and economies today are not isolated entities. Chinese exports account for at least 20 percent of the components of any electronic device. The coronavirus outbreak has negatively affected every aspect of the global economy, with ripple effects showing up in every industry vertical from automotive to food supply. Vehicle, semiconductor, and electronic product manufacturers around the world are facing production delays or shutdowns due to impacted manufacturing and supply chains.

Impact on medical electronic product manufacturers in India. Contrarily, many medical electronic product manufacturers in India have reported an increased interest in telemetry-driven quarantine-management systems developed by them. Clarity Medical, a leading manufacturer of cutting-edge medical electronic products, is one of them. With high indigenization levels and over 70 percent localized procurement, the impact of the disruption in the supply chain has not been high. With very few components being sourced from China and alternative supply chain measures in place, Clarity is on target for the delivery of their innovative products to the world.

Medical product innovations at Clarity to the rescue. Clarity has also showcased increased levels of interest in their pulse oximeters and respiratory-rate counters since the news of the coronavirus pandemic broke.

Clarity Medical has geared up to help countries manage the coronavirus crisis by identifying some of their groundbreaking products that are geared around telemetry, and can help hospital workers remotely monitor patients in quarantine.

These products will also help in minimizing high-risk patient contact and decreased hospital-acquired or nosocomial infection rates.

The medical product innovations at Clarity Medical are ready to help the world combat the coronavirus epidemic better, and minimize impact to dedicated hospital workers that work round the clock to ensure that the world recovers from this epidemic faster.

Vishnu Ravindranath
Spark Meditech Pvt. Ltd.

The COVID-19 pandemic has literally brought the world to a standstill. As per UN, apart from the tragic human consequences, the economic uncertainty it has sparked will likely cost the global economy USD 1 trillion in 2020. A major lesson that the Indian industry is to learn from this scenario is to be self-sustaining in terms of medical and pharma industry. The initial phases saw acute shortage of not just finished goods but raw materials required for the medical industry as well. The high dependence on China for not just medical and life-saving products but also the general industry as such is something that not just India but the whole world needs to reconsider seriously.

In order for self-sustaining medical industry to flourish in India, it is important that the government take proactive steps for supporting local industries in terms of financial support through SPVs, labs, and testing facilities. The dependency on specific countries for manufacturing inputs can be reconsidered by manufacturers only if alternative options are available in India; and this will only be possible if the government takes a proactive step in that direction.

One of our USPs since the beginning has been the concept of fully autoclavable and reusable accessories for our products like diathermy and pumps, which help in keeping treatment cost down. This age-old and tested concept not just makes things affordable, but also helps in cutting down on the medical waste generated. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, the significance of fully autoclavable and reusable products cannot be ignored.

Rajiv Nath
Forum Coordinator,

Coronavirus scare has begun to affect the healthcare sector – both in terms of critical medicines and the supply of Chinese-origin raw materials being used for commonly used medical devices like digital thermometers, nebulizers, blood pressure monitors, and glucometers.

Most of the manufacturers who are complaining of losses or raw materials becoming an issue are mainly importers or pseudo manufacturers, who are only packaging the product and possibly not manufacturing any part of it.

Genuine players in the market in terms of medical devices may have second sources of supplies of components and raw materials like Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Europe. It is difficult for the pseudo manufacturers to shift from Chinese companies to other suppliers for completely assembled products, and hence this noise is being heard.

The spread of coronavirus across the world has caused huge supply-chain disruptions in China – the epicenter of the crisis chain – and all over the world of medical device industry to importers to healthcare providers of sourcing products.

The silver lining is that the world is now looking at India as a possible second source of supply after China.

We have written to the union health ministry about the complaints we have received on hoarding of medical devices and basic protective equipment, including masks and gloves and hand sanitizers by manufacturers and distributors. We have requested the government to monitor the situation and take stringent action against wrongdoers as well as create a stockpile.

It is essential to define quality standards and specifications, monitor retail prices, and consider price controls to ensure wider access to masks and other related essentials

India has adequate capacity to make gloves and masks and other PPE (patient-protection equipment) in case of an emergency.

The next item we envisage becoming critical are ventilators and oxygen supply lines, should the epidemic spread more.

This problem can be converted into a Make in India opportunity to place India as the second factory to the world for medical devices.

Dr Sudhakar Manav
Chief Executive Officer,
Apollo Hospitals

Impact on healthcare business. In India, we are already struggling to create a robust healthcare system and infrastructure to cater for the quality response to accidents, emergencies, and disasters. The outbreak of COVID-19 is a huge challenge to the healthcare sector in terms of the supply chain, which is largely dependent on China in terms of the medical equipment and raw materials.

The meagre spend of 1.3 percent of GDP on healthcare in India is not enough to cater for the healthcare of more than 125 crore Indians. Our public health system is still evolving, and the surveillance system is in a nascent stage.

The COVID-19 and its fear may shake the healthcare system by filling up hospital beds, thus leaving the scarce availability of beds for needy patients.

Impact on private hospitals. COVID-19 has a muted impact on private hospitals as the suspected cases are to be reported to the public health authorities. The limited impact is seen on laboratories, pharmacies, and the OPD consults. There is no significant financial impact. However, the number of attendants accompanying patients and the visitors of admitted patients have reduced substantially. There is some reduction in planned surgeries and the preventive health checks. The absenteeism among employees has increased a bit. The non-essential meetings are being called off.

Strategy against COVID-19. India should consider the countermeasures for such outbreaks, and should keep adequate reserves of critical medical supplies. All entry points in the country should have testing facilities and at least one hospital per city should have quarantine facility, beside tying up with private hospitals for earmarking few beds for the cause.

Rekha Dubey
Aditya Birla Hospital

Coronavirus has created an outrage globally, with it spreading across 70+ countries in a short span. In the last few days, new cases are being detected in India also daily. Being a healthcare facility, we understand our responsibilities and we know we have to be on frontline, creating awareness about precautions one should take as per WHO guidelines, dealing with patients and helping people in vain. While we do not see the business getting impacted directly, but healthcare industry has to be prepared for all kinds of emergencies. We are already seeing scarcity in supplies of sanitizers and respirators. Hence, it is important to keep check and keep proper stocks in place. Further, enough supplies of all kinds of drugs should be checked, given the impact on manufacturing and supply of drugs getting affected. Drug makers rely heavily on ingredients made in Chinese factories, which could cause supply problems as the virus’ disruption of the Chinese economy continues.

At Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital also we are developing our emergency plan in case the epidemic breaks in our city. We are training staff on how to manage patients, accept transfers,
and share supplies. While doing this, we are working on our workforce-safety plans, as they are at great risk and should be protected. Analysis of all kinds of drugs, preparation to manage shortages, and stocking on supplies are a few measures being taken by the hospital.

The Phrase, A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, is correct. There are some myths about coronavirus, which I would like to break down into key points that can be noted and taken into consideration.

  • WHO (World Health Organization) has clearly stated that wearing surgical masks won’t reduce the risk of coronavirus infection; the masks don’t give a 100% safety guarantee. So, one must not just wear a mask but also wash and rinse his/her hands clean once returning home from work, play, and most importantly before consuming any eatable (especially infants and teens).
  • Another myth is if you’ve contracted the flu you’ll die, which is very wrong and misleading. Around 81 percent of people have already been cured of the virus; coronavirus is not a death sentence. So, without panicking one must get him/her tested, if he/she has trouble breathing or has cold and fever for more than two weeks.
  • Old people are at a higher risk of this flu is another myth, which is wrong; aged people tend to have many more complications and problems as compared to the younger lot, that is, it can affect anyone irrespective of age.
  • Also, I would conclude by saying if there’s any question regarding coronavirus, you can easily get knowledge about the same from the WHO website or contact your doctor than believing everything that is being said, and panic. Please follow the hygiene guidelines and avoid going to crowded places as the chances to contract this disease are high in such places as it’s an airborne disease.

Gandharv Roy
Medica Superspeciality Hospital

In the healthcare delivery sector, the spread of coronavirus affects our business both on the supply side and the demand side.

On the demand side, it has a few detrimental impacts like instilling a fear in medical value tourists to travel to India from their home countries for seeking superior healthcare they may be unable to access in their home countries.

Such is also the case for a few domestic patients, as they too wish to avoid a public place like a hospital. While the former pose challenges to our ability to treat as many people as possible, some people have become more aware of the health crisis and many are choosing to get pursue coughs, colds, and other symptoms of respiratory distress more actively rather than delaying treatment, occasionally, to the detriment of their own health.

On the supply side, many clinicians are hesitant to travel abroad, primarily to Southeast Asia, to extend their own expertise to countries with insufficient medical facilities and provide citizens of those countries with respite. This hurts the hospital’s ability to extend its services beyond our borders.

There have also been disruptions on the supply of medication and medical devices from China. Our organization foresaw this likelihood and pre-empted the issue by stockpiling as much of these products as possible.

However, our reserves are dependent on the duration of the epidemic. In the short term, we expect business to progress as usual; however, further down the line, it is likely this will affect all patients’ ability to commensurate treatment at the competitive prices we would offer, as healthcare organizations will be required to procure more expensive goods from firms that have their upstream supply chains in Europe. As the epidemic passes, things will return to normal.

As a healthcare organization, we were amongst the first in the country to adopt strict hygiene and screening guidelines on all individuals entering the hospital, even patients’ relatives.

Dr Rahul S Kamble
Consultant Microbiologist and Infection Control,
Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre

The outlook for healthcare companies has become murkier as fears over the novel coronavirus epidemic loom over the market. Hospitals face a particularly high degree of uncertainty, going into a possible epidemic.

Their services would be in high demand, but their business could be substantially disrupted. The impact on the pharmaceutical supply chain is already a major worry. Pharmaceutical companies generally have a substantial amount of backup on hand, but those stores would not last forever.

India’s economy continues to decelerate, presenting challenges to policymakers tasked with reviving growth as the coronavirus outbreak disrupts global supply chains and saps business and investor confidence around the world.

The below actions can help businesses of all kinds:

Protect your employees. The COVID-19 crisis has been emotionally challenging for many people, changing day-to-day life in unprecedented ways. Leaders must communicate with employees with the right level of specificity and frequency.

Set up a cross-functional COVID-19 response team. Companies should nominate a direct report of the CEO to lead the effort, and should appoint members from every function and discipline to assist and dedicate most of their time to virus response.

Ensure that liquidity is sufficient to weather the storm. Companies should model their financials in each scenario and identify triggers that might significantly impair liquidity. For each such trigger, companies should define moves to stabilize the organization in each scenario.

Stabilize the supply chain. Companies should start planning how to manage supply for products that may, as supply comes back on line, see unusual spikes in demand due to hoarding.

Stay close to your customers. Companies should invest in online as part of their push for omnichannel distribution; this includes ensuring the quality of goods sold online.

Practice the plan. Companies can use tabletop simulations to define and verify their activation protocols for different phases of response. They should ensure that the actions needed to carry out the plan are clear, fully understood, and the required investment is readily available.

Demonstrate purpose. Businesses are only as strong as the communities of which they are a part. Companies need to figure out how to support response efforts – for example, by providing money, equipment, or expertise.

Dr Sandeep Chatrath
Regional CEO and Medical Director,
Metro Group of Hospitals

Impact it will have on your business and your planned strategy to address thisTravel industry crucial to the global economy. The hit to the travel industry has the potential to become a major drag on the global economy, if coronavirus continues to spread around the world. It is vital. If you measure the entirety of the impact of travel, it is bigger than any other industry around the world. No other industry can say it supports 1 in 10 jobs. The effecton travel is growing by the day. There has been a sharp drop in travel across the Pacific, not just to and from China, the epicenter of the outbreak, but also to other Asian countries. This week United Airlines disclosed that it had seen a near total drop in demand to China and about a 75 percent decline in near-term demand on the rest of its trans-Pacific routes.

Dr Pradyut Waghray
Consultant Pulmonologist,
Apollo Hospitals

The impact on the pharmaceutical supply chain market has been majorly disrupted. The drug makers rely on the ingredients, which usually come from the Chinese factories, which now has become a serious problem because of the virus spread in China. The longer this goes, higher is the risk factor.

The hospitals face a high degree of uncertainty, if the disease turns into an epidemic. Although their services would be high in demand, their business could be disrupted. Regular patients and other departments could possibly be affected as the other patients fear to come to the hospitals treating the COVID-19 patients. This could possibly mean that an epidemic like this could hit on the revenue generation of the hospitals, thereby disrupting their business largely.

The doctors, especially in the respiratory sector, are highly at risk when it comes to these deadly diseases. The symptoms, which are that of a common flu, impact it even further since it becomes difficult to understand if the virus is actually present in the patient or not. Although, there is a panic among people with the spread of COVID-19 virus, which brings them to the doctor to get themselves checked, there is also a constant fear and risk to the lives of the doctors treating the people with a possibility of the contained virus. Therefore, it is important to take proper measures to curtail the spread of the disease.

Dr Paramhans Mishra
Group CEO,
Kailash Hospitals & Healthcare

Coronavirus is comparatively less lethal than Ebola, SARS, or swine flu. Still, it has caused a panic amongst people as it has spread very fast to more than 100 countries, the reason being that it is a new strain and there is no vaccine or curative treatment available. Before signs and symptoms are identified, it has already damaged lungs. There are very few laboratories available for testing, and it takes a long time to get reports. By that time, it might have affected many people. It is going to cause huge impact on healthcare industry by:

Travel ban. Many countries have banned or issued advisories to avoid travel to and from China, Japan, Iran, Italy, Thailand, etc. This will lead to decrease in supply of medicines, consumables, as well as medical tourism.

Hoarding of materials. In fear of short supply, people have started hoarding consumable materials like hand sanitizers, gloves, masks, etc. This has caused problems to healthcare workers, who are most exposed in caring about patients. When healthcare professionals are themselves exposed and scared, how can they look after patients?

Rise in cost of materials.Hoarding of above consumable materials has caused many-fold rise in prices of above items. They are not available in the market. We cannot charge more than MRP to patients. This may lead to discrepancy in demand and supply of items required for patient care.

Dr Abhishant Pandey
Technical Lead- Central Lab Head,

To date, only government laboratories have the approval to test for COVID-19. The health ministry has designated 52 testing sites for coronavirus to ensure adequate geographical spread across India. The National Institute of Virology, Pune, is the nodal laboratory

The socio-economic impact of the outbreak has affected several sectors.

The societal impact on education has been on children attending schools because of temporary or indefinite closure of schools mandated by the government to slow the spread of COVID-19 including in the capital city of New Delhi.

As mainland China is a major economy and a manufacturing hub, the viral outbreak has been seen to pose a major destabilizing threat to the global economy. It is estimated that the economic fall out of the epidemic could surpass that of SARS outbreak.

The technology industry has been badly affected due to delays in transport of electronic goods. The demand for PPE has risen 100 folds, with consequent increase in price and induced delays in supply.

Tourism is one of the worst-affected sectors owing to travel advisories and consequent sharp fall in the number of tourists. A number of major events involving large crowds have been cancelled by the national and regional governments.

The message for the community at large has to be to make every effort to contain the virus and slow its spread to save lives. This allows the health systems and all of society much needed time to prepare, and researchers more time to identify effective treatments and develop vaccines.

We must stop, contain, control, delay, and reduce the impact of this virus at every opportunity. Every person has the capacity to contribute, to protect themselves, to protect others, whether in the home or in the community.

Dr Prachi Sinkar
Senior Pathologist & Head Laboratory,
Thyrocare Technologies Ltd.

Although it is not possible to predict the future course of the outbreak, it is important to be prepared for the impact it brings on the healthcare sector, and the economy around the globe.

With China, and 10 other countries under lock down as of now, sensible precautions to avoid the spread make sense, but it is easy for businesses to go into panic mode.

The supply chain consequences are real and affect some sectors and assets more than others, not to mention the hand sanitizer shortages and face mask counterfeiting.

Having said that, going forward to Thyrocare as a business, we have been hit to a low by 10 percent in our stocks clearly but much above the market crash that is being globally witnessed.

For our diagnostic services, contingency plans are in place for this global pandemic as on date, i.e., reagent inventories that are imported from around the globe have alternatives and during the events of shortage, or in case of optimizing the facility, additional supplies can be procured flexibly from other countries or the local branded sources

Along with this, we also have a backup for at least 90 days to serve our customers ceaselessly. But unknown risks and uncertainties can have a larger, more paralyzing effect than what is currently foreseen.

Today, when the fear is at its peak, safety lies in being aware and vigilant. It can never be denied that coronavirus is a killer, but it is important to be meticulous, and cleverly strategize the prevention.

Dr Manoj Kumar Pathak
Professor and HeadDept. of Forensic Medicine,

India’s top IT firms have a fairly large presence in China, the epicenter of the epidemic. Indian pharmaceutical industry is dependent on Chinese imports. As health officials raced to contain the outbreak, there has been a shut down in the factories. Across the globe, the business has been squeezed. Companies are readjusting annual profit expectations, and forecasts are being lowered by economists for global growth.

A whole lot of sectors such as toys, furniture, computers, cars, and white goods are dependent on China. On the telecom network side, 25 percent of imports are from China. A crunch in the supply of smart phones, TVs, and electronics will impact e-commerce sales effectively.

In the same context, the stock market has also seen severe drops in business. The surge in the stocks in final minutes of trading on March 2 2020, heard after one of the worst weeks for global markets since 2008 crisis, which was probably because of financial crisis as investors seized on promises that the world’s governments would step into help, if the global economy was slammed.

According to the director, devices, India & South Asia, if corona virus is not under control soon, 2Q could see supply and manufacturing disruptions. Meanwhile, a delay in new launches can also be seen.

The Chief Economic Advisor has said that outbreak in China provides an opportunity for India to expand exports.

The viral outbreak poses a difficult
time for Indian economy and could make the slowdown worse. A supply shortage to India, including the components
going into the manufacturing of a wide range of goods, can be the manifestations of disruptions, which can lead to shortage of finished products, higher prices, end of online discounts, and job losses.

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